Bidwell Presbyterian Church in Chico, CA has many digital offerings. These include a mobile app and live video of its worship services that went from impressive to critical during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“About two years ago we looked to video to enhance what we’re already doing, and start being more relevant to younger generations and integrating our services with technology,” says Miykael Goodwin, Director of Technology at the church. “When the pandemic started, we were in lockdown and it was a little bit of a growing pain like everyone else had. But we also knew we had this resource available to us that we could take advantage of.”
How They Pivoted
That resource is a NewTek TriCaster live production system, designed to provide an entire suite of media production capabilities. It also offers native Skype integration and work with numerous social media platforms to allow live streaming to Facebook Live, Microsoft Azure, Periscope, Twitch, YouTube Live, and more. Further, when combined with NDI, a free video-over-IP protocol that allows video signals to be made instantly available over the network, TriCaster can make use of NDI PTZ cameras, requiring only a single Ethernet connection for setup, power, operation, and signal flow.
The church’s video control room is located in a building across the street. This helps meet social distancing requirements, and because the two locations are on the same network, there’s no issue with taking control of the production remotely via NDI. “It’s been very convenient to where if we need to adjust cameras at the main campus, we don’t have to walk across the street or phone somebody to make those quick adjustments,” Goodwin notes. “We can do it all on the fly. Or if we do see a problem, we’re able to address it quickly.”
What is NDI?
NDI allows individuals and organizations to access the benefits of IP-based, software-defined visual storytelling for a fraction of the cost of other IP protocols or traditional video transport methods. Many manufacturers have adopted NDI, and many free-to-use NDI tools are available for download. With NDI, nearly any video source can be utilized for creative storytelling.
Goodwin also praises the user-friendly layout of the TriCaster system and adds the support offerings from NewTek have helped Bidwell Presbyterian with its broadcasts. Further, he says the system has been mission-critical for the church during COVID-19 restrictions. “Using NewTek Technology, and using this equipment, allows you to reach more than just your immediate community,” he concludes. “It allows you to reach the hard-to-reach or the hurting…they can access it from their phone, they can access it from their computer.”
Go here to check out a video on the project.